Securing national energy supplies
What steps has the Federal Government taken?
Through a circulation procedure, the Federal Cabinet has adopted draft wording for the coalition partners in the German Bundestag. The wording concerns the so-called LNG Acceleration Act. Liquefied natural gas is natural gas in liquid form. It can be transported by ship to terminals, from where it can be fed into the gas supply network.
The draft law proposes new regulations to allow for land-based and floating LNG terminals and the associated connections to be constructed more quickly. This will involve swifter approval, tendering and review procedures. In order to help overcome the gas supply crisis, the draft law creates exemptions to environmental impact assessments. Public consultation will continue to take place, albeit shortened to two weeks. This makes it possible to commence the construction of gas pipelines and infrastructure for LNG terminals as early as this summer.
Why is this law necessary?
Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine has prompted the Federal Government to reassess the energy and security policy situation in Germany. The recent developments have shown that Russia can no longer be trusted as an energy supplier. Russia’s recent decision to suspend gas supplies to European partner nations makes it very clear how important it is to make Germany independent of Russian energy imports.
The LNG Acceleration Act is supporting this. The Act is intended to increase security for national energy supplies by maintaining gas supplies from other countries. To do this, it is necessary to swiftly construct LNG infrastructure. This infrastructure is essential for supply security in Germany. All the plans described in the law are in the overarching public interest and in the interests of public security.
What are the proposed locations for LNG infrastructure?
The following locations are considered particularly suitable to bring natural gas ashore: Brunsbüttel, Wilhelmshaven, Stade/Bützfleth, Hamburg/Moorburg, Rostock/Hafen and Lubmin. Which of these sites will be realised depends on a range of legal, technical and economic factors.
What steps has the Federal Government already taken?
The Federal Government and the Land of Lower Saxony signed an agreement on 5 May 2022 to expand LNG and GreenGas infrastructure. At the same time, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Robert Habeck signed contracts to lease four floating LNG terminals, with 2.94 billion euros of funding available to put them into operation. This is part of the efforts to broaden the basis of Germany’s energy supply.
How is this law compatible with climate protection?
Fossil gas will play a role for a transitional period only. For this reason the new gas power stations and infrastructure have been planned in such a way that they can be successively switched over to carbon neutral products such as hydrogen. Building LNG infrastructure is a short-term solution to facilitate alternative ways of importing gas. From the very outset, the Federal Government has planned that this infrastructure will also be able to be used with hydrogen in future.
The draft LNG Acceleration Act includes provisions so that land-based LNG terminals and the gas pipelines needed to connect them to the network will also be suitable to be switched over to hydrogen at a later stage. In this way the Act is in harmony with the climate protection goals of the Federal Climate Change Act. In line with German climate goals, the approvals for the LNG facilities are to be limited in duration to no later than 31 December 2043. Continued operation of these facilities will only be possible after that point if they are used for climate neutral hydrogen and its derivatives. It is therefore ensured that it will still be possible to achieve the goal of climate neutrality no later than 2045.